Just last year, on her 32nd birthday, mother-of-four Beth Whaanga was diagnosed with "major cellular changes to her left breast" and the BRCA2 gene. After a double mastectomy, a breast reconstruction, and a scheduled hysterectomy, she says she's not a breast cancer survivor but a "breast cancer preventer." And now the Australian's making international headlines for posing in a series of stunning, haunting, and thought-provoking (NSFW) nude photos by photographer Nadia Masot to show the realities of what cancer-related surgeries do to women's bodies ...
As a registered nurse, Beth says that with this "Under the Red Dress" campaign, she felt she had "an obligation to others to raise awareness about cancer. If my experience could help others, then I felt like it was necessary to do that."
Upon posting the photos, Beth elaborated on Facebook:
The aim of this project is to raise awareness for breast cancer. If you find these images offensive please hide them from your feed. Each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story. Nadia Masot and I aim to find others who are willing to participate in our project so that we might show others that cancer effects everyone. The old and the young, age does not matter, self examination is vital. It can happen to you.
So true, so important. And so shocking that Facebook didn't flip out and immediately take the graphic images down! According to News.Com.Au, the images from her page have been reported as inappropriate, but Facebook says they will not be removing them. Cheers to that!
And bravo to Beth for bringing a brave, much-needed dose of reality onto our radars. If her goal was to open even just a few people's eyes and get a conversation going, I'm guessing she can already consider herself extremely successful.
What do you think about Beth's photos and effort to raise awareness about the effects of cancer-related surgeries?
Image by Nadia Masot via Beth.Whaanga/Facebook